R&R time on Maryland’s Upper Eastern shore

06/07/2012  | 
TRAVEL USA

Having fun on the shore, in the County of Kent, is the place to be this summer. It seems like every weekend this Upper Eastern Shore county is host to a terrific event or festival; not to mention, you will always find a show, a sail, a cruise, an art exhibit, a piece of history — something is always happening.

The 4th of July celebrations throughout the County are small-town unmatched, beginning on July 1 with Watermen’s Day in Rock Hall, Fireworks on July 3rd in Rock Hall, July 4th in Chestertown and Georgetown and all-you-can-eat breakfasts in Galena and Rock Hall.

Three of these historic towns have ongoing town events of fun, music and more: First Fridays in Chestertown (arts and entertainment), Second Saturdays in Galena (music, fellowship and fun), Third Fridays in Rock Hall (Cruise Night, reliving the 60s with cars and music). The Kent County Fair is July 19-21 at the 4-H Park in Tolchester.

Find great bargains on the redbrick sidewalks of Chestertown with Crazy Days on July 26. Take a sail on one of many Schooner Sultana Two-Hour Public Sails (for the schedule, www.sultanaprojects.org.) If you love quaint beaches, a great time to visit Betterton Beach is Betterton Appreciation Day on Aug. 4; parade begins at 10 a.m.

If pirates are your thing, don’t miss Rock Hall’s Pirates and Wenches Weekend on Aug. 10-12. Bicycling the flat, winding country roads is best with one of the many bike tours, try Ride to See Bike Tour on Aug. 11. How about an Ol’ Time Fish Fry at Wesley Chapel on Aug. 24? Find these and many more great events online at kentcounty.com/events.

Less than a two-hour drive from Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Wilmington are the shorelines of the County of Kent, Maryland. Visiting the historic towns of Chestertown, Rock Hall, Galena, Betterton and Millington is like stepping back in time. There are plenty of things to do, great places to explore and even more ways to relax. An oasis, where you will find boutique shopping, antiquing, sidewalk cafes, art galleries and studios, performing arts theaters in Chestertown and Rock Hall, museums, quaint beaches in Betterton and Rock Hall, waterfront parks, terrific paddling on the calm tributaries of the Bay, fishing, boating, cycling on the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway, exploring the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, terrific restaurants, and fresh local seafood — so fresh in fact, it is a common sight to see watermen returning from a day on the water with their catches.

For wine lovers, make a stop to the County of Kent’s first winery at the Crow Farm Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

You may want to bring your bicycle or rent one in Chestertown or Rock Hall. A long ride on these flat, winding country roads will surely work up your appetite. Taste fresh seafood, including the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab and Rockfish. Known for its terrific restaurants, you will find one here for every taste. From mouth-watering burgers to gourmet local seafood and grass-fed beef entrees, the flavor is yours to choose. From waterfront vistas to historic red-brick sidewalks, the view is yours to pick. You may even choose to experience a farm-to-table dinner at a local farm.

Chestertown, 1706

Mix history, culture, heritage and shopping along its red-brick, tree-lined sidewalks and you get Dowtown Historic Chestertown, named one of America’s Distinctive Destinations, by the National Historic Trust. Enjoy its Geddes-Piper House Museum ca. 1784, guided and self-guided historic tours, the Schooner Sultana 1768 public sails and paddles, Prince Theatre’s live performances, first Fridays, specialty shops, art galleries and fabulous restaurants. Be sure to take a taste of “Made in the County of Kent” home with you, by stocking up at the Chestertown Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market on Saturday mornings in Fountain Park. If you want to cruise-in to Chestertown, American Cruise Lines has added this historic port to its Philadelphia and Potomac eight day, seven night cruises. For this year’s cruise schedule log on to www.americancruiselines.com.

The Town of Rock Hall

This small-town treasure is rich in maritime history, with watermen continuing to harvest the bounty of the Bay. Enjoy live performances at Mainstay Theater, find unique shops, more than a dozen marinas, a small beach with a quaint boardwalk and gazebo, three story-filled museums: the Rock Hall Museum, Tolchester Beach Revisited Museum and Waterman’s Museum.

Fish with a licensed fishing captain, charter a sailboat or go kayaking. Bird watchers will be delighted with their finds too, especially while taking a nature walk on a trail to a waterfront bench or an observation deck at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge, only seven miles from Rock Hall.

The Harbor of this fishing village is also a perfect venue to hear the chatter of nesting Osprey, commonly called “Fish Hawks.” This large raptor arrives in March, has babies in late May, early June and stays for summer, until migrating in the fall.

Don’t miss Rock Hall Cruise Night, held on third Fridays on Main Street. Everyone is welcome to clean up that rod and cruise on down, or just come for the fun and check out the cars, music, and relive the 60s. No registration necessary.

The Town of Betterton

Located at the mouth of the Sassafras River on the Chesapeake Bay, Betterton Beach offers spectacular views — truly a photographer’s dream. Don’t miss the Betterton Day Celebration, always the first Saturday in August.

The Town of Galena

This historic town hosts unique shops, family style restaurants and Second Saturdays, which features live music, treats in the shops and good fun. Nearby Georgetown is located on the Sassafras River and offers boating, waterfront dining, lodging and fantastic views of the Sassafras River.

The Town of Millington

A great spot for paddling, Millington is located at the northern tip of the Chester River, just off of route 301. With its mouthwatering dining, it is a terrific day trip or a perfect travel stop to stretch your legs and have a delicious bite to eat.

Don’t wait, plan your getaway today. Find lodging and lots of things to see and do — and hundreds of events — at www.kentcounty.com/events.

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